My Rating: 3 stars
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Age Category: Adult
Type of romance: MF
Welcome to the deadliest beach resort in Florida – in USA Today bestselling author H.Y. Hanna’s new cozy mystery series!
English girl Ellie is a ‘fish-out-of-water’ when she arrives in sunny Florida for a vacation with her aunt at a beach resort. But she’s barely dipped her toe in the ocean before she stumbles on a sinister murder. Now Ellie must battle jet lag, sunburn, and a cheeky parrot named Hemingway, while trying to unravel the mystery. With a writers’ conference in full flow, there’s no shortage of suspects. Is the killer a jealous rival author? Or the victim’s secret lover? And why are some of the resort staff behaving so suspiciously?
To make things worse, Aunt Olive has gone missing, fueling gossip that she might be on the run. But Ellie is sure that her aunt isn’t guilty. Life gets even more complicated when she starts snooping around the resort. First there’s the resident cat Mojito, who leads Ellie on a wild ‘gator’ chase, and then there’s the handsome resort doctor who sets Ellie’s pulse racing in a different way! As more red herrings than sand dollars wash up on the beach, Ellie must use all her wits to solve the case before her visit to the Sunshine State becomes deadlier than she ever imagined…
CLEAN READ: no graphic violence, sex, or strong language.
GENRE: beach mystery, cat cozy mystery series, culinary cozy mysteries, women sleuth, amateur sleuth, humorous cozy mysteries
BAREFOOT SLEUTH COZY MYSTERIES:
*Flip-Flops and Murder (Book 1)
*Seashells and Murder (Book 2)
*Cocktails and Murder (Book 3)
I received a free copy of this book from the author and voluntarily reviewed it.
I was excited for this new series by H.Y. Hanna and this is a fun first book in this new series. While her other cozy mystery series are set in the UK, this one’s set in Florida. Except for the different location it still has the same vibe as her other books. I like this introduction to this new series, but for some reason it didn’t fully grip me as much as I would’ve liked. It might’ve been my mood or that this is the first book in the series. I am looking forward to the next book in the series.
Flip-Flops and Murder follows main character Ellie as she leaves the dreary English weather behind to join her aunt Olive on a vacation on a beach resort in Florida. There she stumbles upon a murdered women who attended the writer’s conference that her aunt is attending as well. I thought this was an unique set-up for a cozy mystery series as normally we follow the main character in their daily life instead of on a vacation and this sure was an interesting set-up and setting at a beach resort.
The mystery somehow didn’t fully grip me. It was a pretty typical one for a cozy mystery, the murdered women wasn’t a nice person and when she’s found drowned in the pool the police suspect fool play. There are some possible suspects from other writer to some members of the staff. Ellie goes through finding some proof and talking to suspects. She goes a bit far and daring in obtaining some pieces of proof, but eventually pieces together who is the killer. I just wasn’t as invested in figuring out who killed and wasn’t too surprised when the killer came to light. The motivation did made sense and there were some hints in that direction, although I found the main clue that pointed in that direction to be a bit weak.
As this is the first book in a new series it took me a bit of time to get a feel for the setting and characters. There weren’t as many side characters that really played a big role yet. I usually like the quirky side characters this author writes, so I am hoping those might pop up in future books. I had expected Aunt Olive to play a large role in the story due to the set-up as Ellie is joining her on this vacation, but due to events that didn’t turn out to be the case, but maybe she’ll have more of a role in the next book. I look forward to getting to know her and seeing how see and Ellie interact.
The two resort pets were awesome, both the parrot and the cat were fun additions. I liked the parrot’s attitude and how he repeated things people said and even how that plays a role in the mystery. There also is a hint of romance and love interest seemed like a good guy and I liked the scenes with him so far. I am curious to see where that goes in future books.
The focus is mainly on the mystery and Ellie trying to find out things, while also dealing with settling in at the resort. I thought having Ellie deal with jet lag was a realistic touch. I don’t feel like I have quite a good feel for Ellie’s personality yet, but hopefully that will develop more in later books. She was super curious and didn’t mind some snooping. At times she didn’t make the smartest decisions and sometimes I rolled my eyes a bit at the ridiculous situations she landed in. I liked how determined she was an how she was concerned about her aunt.
It was nice to see how Ellie wasn’t used to some of the American customs and how she gets to try some American food. Seeing her experience Florida was fun. The resort setting also was a fun addition.
To summarize: This was a nice start of this new series. The set-up with Ellie joining her aunt on vacation in Florida was a fun and unique set-up for a series. The mystery didn’t fully grip me, I wasn’t as invested in figuring out who had done it. I wasn’t surprised who the killer was. As this is the first book in a new series it took me some time to get know the characters and setting. There weren’t as many interesting side characters yet and Aunt Olive didn’t play a role in this book as I had expected, but hopefully that will change in book 2. I liked the two resort pets, a parrot and a cat, they were great and made for some funny scenes. I also liked the possible love interest for Ellie. I look forward to getting to know Ellie a bit more as the series progresses as I didn’t get as good a feel for her personality as I would’ve liked. All in all this was a fun start to this new series and I look forward to the next book!